Admission programmes in all top US business schools are in full swing. While the pandemic might have put a temporary dampener during the initial days of the Covid-19 pandemic, the admission spree is fast returning to pre-covid rates, with Indians, as usual, making a big chunk of international students.

Applicants interested in pursuing an MBA from the USA should be aware of the important admission dates to prepare accordingly. 

MBA Application Dates for 2022

The entire application process in most B-schools in the USA is quite time-consuming, with multiple admission rounds, group discussions, a personal interview, etc. Therefore, an applicant should know the important dates in advance to plan accordingly.

While the first two admission rounds are already over by now, applicants can consider bookmarking these dates for future reference as the dates remain largely unchanged in most business schools with a minor shift of a day or two. Furthermore, applicants still have a chance to prepare for round 3 and round 4 admissions.

Here is a list of admission deadlines for some of the top B-schools in the USA. All other B-schools follow a similar admission deadline.

RankBusiness SchoolUniversityRound 1Round 2Round 3Round 4
1Harvard Business SchoolHarward UniversitySeptember 8, 2021January 4, 2022
2Graduate School of BusinessStanford UniversitySeptember 9, 2021January 5, 2022April 12, 2022
3Wharton SchoolUniversity of PennsylvaniaSeptember 8, 2021January 5, 2022March 30, 2022
4Chicago Booth School of BusinessUniversity of ChicagoSeptember 23, 2021January 6, 2022April 7, 2022
5Kellogg School of ManagementNorthwestern UniversitySeptember 15, 2021January 5, 2022April 6, 2022
6Columbia Business SchoolColumbia UniversityOctober 6, 2021January 5, 2022April 8, 2022
7NYC Stern School of BusinessNew York UniversitySeptember 15, 2021October 15, 2021January 15, 2022March 15, 2022
8MIT Sloan School of ManagementMassachusetts Institute of TechnologySeptember 28, 2021January 19, 2022April 12, 2022
9Yale School of ManagementYale UniversitySeptember 14, 2021January 6, 2022April 12, 2022
10Tuck School of BusinessDartmouth UniversitySeptember 27, 2021January 3, 2022March 28, 2022

[Source:- Fortune Education]


Which MBA Application Round Should you Apply For?

The short answer to this question is Round 1. However, many factors can force a candidate to wait out or delay their decision to apply. But, know that most US B-schools are globally acclaimed, with thousands of students- both US and international- jostling for admission for a limited number of seats in every college, pushing down the acceptance rates.

The Acceptance rates in full-time courses of some prominent US B-schools for fall 2020 are listed below.

Sr. No.Business SchoolsAcceptance Rate
1Stanford University8.9%
2Harvard University9.2%
3Columbia University13.6%
4Pennsylvania State University- University Park (Smeal)20.1%
5University of California- Irvine (Merage)20.3%

[Source:- US News]


  • Round 1- The Early Mover Advantage

If you have a strong application along with a good GMAT score, then round 1 can increase your chances of getting admitted to your preferred college. This is because the admission council would not like to lose a promising student by holding the seat for the next rounds hoping to get a better candidate.

Furthermore, every business school today likes to shape a class that reflects diverse cultures. Therefore, you can also benefit from your cultural background in round 1. 

Think of it as a cricket team selection where there are two slots reserved for fast bowlers. A good fast bowler would have a better shot at cracking the selection in round 1 as the management would not like to let him go just to see if there is someone better in round 2.


  • Round 2- Give It All

You can expect the fiercest competition in round 2, as this round typically witnesses the most applications. However, you can always have the chance to secure an admission if you have done your homework and taken the time to prepare your application.

It is good to take your time and carefully build a robust resume and application before applying in round 2. Furthermore, round 2 can be good for you if you have some additional advantages like considerable work experience, strong recommendations, skill sets, etc., that can set your resume apart from other applicants.


  • Round 3 and Beyond – Never say No

Let’s face it upright. Most seats in business schools are booked by the time round 3 begins, making it very difficult to crack. For instance, the Harvard Business School has stopped conducting round 3 admissions altogether. 

You should apply only if you have a spectacular GMAT score along with a really neat resume. However, many applicants manage to get admission into a good college in round 3 through sheer perseverance. Therefore, you should never lose hope. 

[READ: Your Winning Strategy to Apply in Round 3]


When Should You Start Preparing Your MBA Application?

Admission into management programmes in USA B-schools is typically a year-long process. Hence, it is advisable to start as early as you can. Ideally, you should start preparing for admission about  6 to 8 months before the formal announcement dates. 

Your preparation should include preparing for GMAT/GREs, researching about at least seven to eight different B-schools to keep your options open, and preparing letters of recommendation.

[Read: MBA Application – Round 1 VS Round 2 VS Round 3]


How Many Schools Should You Apply to?

While the strategy of applying to multiple B-schools may appear appealing to many applicants, I would not recommend doing this. Also, considering that each application process can cost around $150 to $200, it is not feasible to apply indiscriminately to as many colleges as you can. You can end up spending lakhs just on admission.

However, I do believe that applicants can consider applying to two to three different MBA colleges to keep their options open. Limited applications mean that-

  • You will have a good focus on the few colleges you applied to, and hence you will be able to research well about them.
  • You will be able to do intense preparation for the admission procedure, including preparing a good resume and application form.
  • You can also research different scholarships that you can avail of from the limited number of universities that you applied for.
  • If you cannot secure admission in the first round, you will get time to introspect and find out what went wrong.

Getting admission to a good US university is challenging but not impossible. An important step is to know the admission cycle followed by all universities. Even if you missed the bus, for now, you now know when to expect the next one.